Holocaust and Hope: Students Speak
Holocaust Remembrance Art Exhibit
Friday, March 1 through Thursday, March 28
Central Library, Level 1 Schlessman Hall
How do today’s middle-schoolers relate to the World Wars and the Holocaust? What can others learn from their reflections?
Holocaust and Hope: Students Speak, is an exhibition of original poetry, artistic interpretation, and letters by 7th and 8th graders at the Challenge School in the Cherry Creek School District, who completed a unit of inquiry on the era of the two world wars. Students read and reflected on a variety of literature, including historical fiction, non-fiction, poetry, prose, memoirs, and graphic novels. Their in-depth inquiry into World War II and the Holocaust resulted in two projects.
First, after reading Elie Wiesel’s memoir, Night, students wrote letters to Professor Wiesel and were thrilled and honored by his personal replies. Second, to reflect their deep insights into the world wars and the Holocaust, students created original poetry and 3-D accordion poetry books, utilizing watercolor and multi-media artwork.
Their work and Professor Wiesel’s letters comprise the exhibit, first displayed at the Mizel Museum in Denver. This collection reflects work by students and Elie Wiesel’s letters to them from 2003-2010.
Much of the students’ historical exploration focused on resilience and hope in the face of tyranny and oppression. Stories of people who risked their lives and their families to help those in need, and who, with an outstretched hand and heart assisted absolute strangers who faced certain death, balance accounts of the darkest aspects of humanity and abuses of power. The message is unmistakable: certainly if they overcame fear and hatred, we can face our daily challenges with grace, and also work to ensure that genocide and bigotry vanish so that no one ever endures such catastrophes in the future. The students embody that sense of hope.